So, it would seem that the Burlington County Republican Party has gone yet another year without publishing its by-laws – even for the use of the members of the Township Committees.
Doing so is a requirement to maintain “Major Party” status, and, while no specific administrative penalty exists, it clearly demonstrates the effort of the leadership of the party to act without any oversight whatsoever by the rank and file Republican voters. (Once you have “by-laws”, you have to abide by them).
An elected Township Committeeperson, who is, in fact, in charge of increasing membership in the Burlington County Republican Women’s Association, had sought a copy of the by-laws since she was first elected in June of 2012.
Having been stone-walled by the County Republican Leadership at every turn, and having filed all the necessary paperwork to DEMAND a copy of the “by-laws”, including requests under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA), she has now taken the only action left open to her – but not before the party leadership sought to have her “removed” in the primary – and, when they didn’t get enough votes to beat her, it would appear that they had every intention of manipulating the election - even miss-reporting the results on the County web-site.
As that committeeperson was aware of the issues with the Sequoia voting machines – the ease with which they may be manipulated - she and her husband elected to ‘vote-by-mail’ – providing a paper ballot marked up with her choices in the primary –choices which, naturally, included casting a vote for herself, a choice made also by her husband.
The County Web-Site posted election returns on Wednesday, June 4th, the day after the Primary (not certified, of course), and indicated that the candidates selected by the County Committee to run “on the line” AGAINST the incumbent – an insult, and demonstrated lack of solidarity – had succeeded in taking the seat away from her by a single vote – yet no “mail-in” votes were listed as part of the tally.
As this particular committeeperson is extremely well-informed on voting law, she called each day to ask if the mail-in ballots had been received and recorded, because, if the election returns were to be believed, once the two mail-in ballots were counted, she would be the WINNER by a single vote, rather than losing by a single vote.
So, now we come to Monday, June 9th. The incumbent calls the Election Board one last time, and is told that the ballots have not arrived, and that the election will have to be certified “as is”.
She then informs the board worker – “My husband and I will be down right away to cast our provisional ballots in replacement of the missing mail-in ballots, as is our right”. This call took place at about 10:30 a.m.
Less than half an hour later, she receives a call back from the board. “No need to come down and vote provisionally – your mail-in ballots “showed up”, but there has been an election challenge filed.”
An election challenge? That quickly?
Sound a little suspicious?
She received “her” copy of the challenge the following day, served to her home.
It was FILED ON THE PREVIOUS FRIDAY MORNING!
That means that the mail-in ballots had to have arrived on THURSDAY! It also means that her opponents were advised of the arrival of the ballots, while the incumbent continued to be told that they had not yet arrived.
Think about that – the board continued to tell her that, by all accounts, she had lost the election, when all the while they had her ballot and her husband’s in hand – un-counted. They KNEW she had WON.
Did they hope she would just accept the “defeat” reported in the initial returns, and go away?
It sure looks like it.
It gets worse.
Hard to believe, but it gets worse.
THE LAW FIRM that filed the challenge “on behalf of” the “line” candidates (challengers) was none other than Capehart and Scatchard…the attorneys for the Burlington County Republican Organization, and former employer of “Bridgegate Bill Baroni.”
Remember, as she was still the incumbent – these were HER attorneys!
In a serious breach of ethics, Capehart and Scatchard sued their own client in the recall.
This is not the first time that actions of that firm were “questionable” – but it is the first time they will be taken to task for them. This is, after all, the same firm that bullied Steve Lonegan during the primary in the “Slap Suit” over reporting true data about Lonegan’s opponent, Tom MacArthur, and his ties to an insurance company, York Services Group, being sued in several States for unpaid insurance claims to disaster victims.
Lonegan, who was “good enough” to be the Republican candidate for Senate in the special election last year to fill the vacant office after the death of Frank Lautenberg , and who carried Burlington and Ocean County in his defeat by Corey Booker, was not the choice of the County Leadership this year for Congress…for many reasons. (Apparently, 25,000 reasons, at least.)
The lack of actual “by-laws” opens a can of worms in THAT race, as well, because the fictional/non-existent “ by-laws” were apparently given as the reason that Lonegan could not be nominated “from the floor” by members of the party present in the selection of MacArthur as the “line” candidate – members who supported Lonegan, then, and are unwilling to accept MacArthur, now – especially in light of the discovery that the selection process was rigged.
As there were no “by-laws”, the leadership turning their members away on the Lonegan issue was a lie…right to their faces.
There’s far more (and far worse) to this story – and the courts will hear all. Can a party demand a “Loyalty Oath” where loyalty is to the party, rather than to the Constitution?
Stay tuned, folks. It’s your ballot.